The study of arsenic, copper, lead, and zinc concentrations in Fredericton aquifer sand

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University of New Brunswick


Arsenic, copper, lead and zinc are naturally occurring metals found hi the environment. Analyses of sand samples taken from production well number eight, PW#8, located in the Wilmot Park Well Field, has shown an abundance of these metals. Heavy metals such as zinc, copper and lead usually do not degrade in the water environment, thus allowing them to persist which may result in the creation of toxic conditions. It is believed that the accumulation of these metals in the soil and water environment is associated with the adsorption onto hydrous iron and manganese oxides. The purpose of this report is to examine the relationship that these metals have with iron and manganese oxides. In order to investigate this relationship, the following had to be conducted; (1) iron and manganese extraction test, (2) analyze the extraction solution for the various metals under investigation, (3) and examine thin sections for minerals susceptible to coatings of iron and manganese oxides. Upon conducting these tests it was determined that there was no arsenic in the six sand samples examined, but there was an abundance of the other five metals, copper, zinc, lead, iron, and manganese. Iron was the metal that exhibited the greatest abundance and arsenic was the least abundant. Thin section analysis determined that quartz and feldspar grains in the aquifer sand display coatings of iron oxides.